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Julia Roberts, Lyle Lovett split

By CYNTHIA LITTLETON

LOS ANGELES, March 28 -- Actress Julia Roberts and singer Lyle Lovett announced Tuesday they have agreed to legally separate after less than two years of marriage. Roberts, 27, and Lovett, 38, who tied the knot in June 1993 only 19 days after their first date, broke the news in a joint statement released through Roberts' publicist. 'We remain close and in great support of one another,' the brief statement said. Roberts and Lovett stunned Hollywood with their impromptu nuptials on June 27, 1993, in Marion, Ind. They have said in interviews that for a long time before they met, each was a fan of the other's work. Roberts became Hollywood's box-office queen with her starring role in the 1990 blockbuster 'Pretty Woman.' There are rumors circulating about a sequel. Lovett's eclectic brand of country-pop music has won him a loyal following over the past decade but his marriage to Roberts was a big boost to his profile. Lovett, known for his unruly black pompadour hairstyle, is also a sometimes actor who has appeared in the recent Robert Altman films 'Ready to Wear,' 'Short Cuts' and 'The Player.' The busy couple had a long-distance relationship from the start and maintained separate homes in Texas and Manhattan. By some estimates, they spent no more than 60 days together during their 21-month marriage. That lifestyle, and Roberts' well-publicized flawed relationships in the past, fueled speculation that the marriage would not last. In 1991, the wispy, wide-eyed actress abruptly broke off her engagement to actor Keifer Sutherland just three days before they were to have been married before thousands of guests in a grand Hollywood ceremony on a movie studio soundstage.

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Roberts then took a nearly two-year hiatus from movies, during which she reportedly had brief relationships with actors Jason Patric, Dylan McDermott, Liam Neeson and Daniel Day-Lewis, among others. After resuming her movie career in 1993, Roberts suffered her first bona fide box office flop with last summer's 'I Love Trouble,' for which she received the worst reviews of her career. Roberts also appeared in 'The Player,' but she had no scenes with Lovett so they never met during production. Lovett has enjoyed greater recognition since he married Roberts, although his latest album, titled 'I Love Everybody,' was not as well- received by fans or critics as his previous recordings.

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